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[1/2] A salesperson shows gold bangles to a customer at a jewellery showroom during Dhanteras, a Hindu festival associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in Mumbai, India, October 22, 2022. REUTERS/Niharika Kulkarni/File Photo
BENGALURU/SINGAPORE, May 6 (Reuters) – Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings (TEM.UL) is considering investing $100 million in Indian jeweller BlueStone for a stake of about 20%, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The investment would value Bengaluru-based BlueStone, also backed by venture capital firm Accel and Indian industrialist Ratan Tata, at close to $500 million, said one of the sources, who declined to be identified as the matter is private.
The potential deal could boost BlueStone's plans to expand aggressively in India, the second-largest jewellery consuming nation behind China, as demand surges after the pandemic.
The jeweller has previously disclosed plans to open 300 stores by 2024. It has over 150 stores now, according to its website.
BlueStone operates in a market that is dominated by thousands of small and large local independent jewellery stores, but also branded outlets like Titan Company-owned (TITN.NS) Tanishq and CaratLane, and Kalyan Jewellers (KALN.NS).
Unlike many traditional jewellers, companies like BlueStone and CaratLane also offer online sales.
While Temasek's interest in investing in Bluestone has been previously reported, Reuters is first to report details of an investment amount, the potential valuation and other financial details of the potential deal.
Temasek is doing due diligence on the transaction and a deal could be struck as early as July-September if talks are successful, said one of the sources.
BlueStone CEO Gaurav Kushwaha did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment, while Temasek declined to comment.
Temasek has been investing $1 billion annually in India over past six years and its underlying exposure to India is $16 billion, which is over 5% of Temasek's global $297 billion portfolio, its India head Ravi Lambah told the Economic Times last month.
The deal talks also come at a time when many Indian startups have been struggling to raise fresh funds, forcing them to delay IPOs and sack employees as investors question their sky-high valuations. Startups raised just $2 billion in the first quarter of 2023, 75% lower than the same period of last year, according to data firm CB Insights.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Yantoultra Ngui is a Southeast Asia Deals Correspondent with Reuters in Singapore, covering M&A and capital market deals in a region that is fast emerging as a hot destination for startup investors, unicorns and IPOs. He previously was a reporter at Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. Notably, he was part of WSJ's team that covered the financial scandal at Malaysian state fund 1MDB. Yantoultra graduated with an MBA in Finance from Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2010.
May 31 (Reuters) – Italy's economy rose 0.6% in the first quarter, boosted by strong domestic demand, national statistics bureau ISTAT said on Wednesday, lifting a preliminary estimate of a 0.5% rise in gross domestic product.
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